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It’s back — PBT Extra has returned just in time to start doing some division previews for the NBA season.
Matt Stroup and I start off our run of previews in the Atlantic, which is as deep a division as there is in the NBA. There are playoff teams and the Raptors are going to be better than people think.
Boston should still be the class of the group — their off-season acquisitions of Jason Terry and Courtney Lee should make them a tough team to beat in the regular season. The Knicks should be good but they have to show they can fit all the pieces together, the Nets will score points but defense is a question, and the Sixers have some good young players that need to take the next step forward this season.
I still think four teams in this division will finish within five games of each other at the end of the season. Health and some lucky breaks will determine who wins and who faces the tougher playoff seedings.
Keep your eyes out, over the next couple of weeks we will preview every division in the NBA on PBT Extra.
The Knicks missed their first nine shots of the season then called timeout.
That set the stage for a fan to show at least one person on New York’s side could shoot. The fan hit a half-court shot for $10,000.
Perhaps feeling the momentum, the Knicks came back for a 126-107 win over the Hawks.
Kobe Bryant has become acclaimed for his filmmaking, even winning an Oscar.
But his sustained prominence in basketball retirement, especially considering his new industry, has sparked questions about why he hasn’t been swept up by #MeToo. After all, Bryant admitted in 2004 to having sex with a woman who didn’t view the encounter as consensual the year prior. (That statement part of Bryant moving on and readily accepted by the public, which shows why a reckoning in our handling of sexual misconduct was so necessary.)
Bryant was selected to judge a film festival, but a petition emerged to prevent his participation. Apparently, 159 signatures were enough for the festival to change course.
Evan Real of The Hollywood Reporter:
Kobe Bryant has been removed from the Animation Is Film Festival jury following backlash stemming from a 2003 rape allegation. Though the former L.A. Lakers star was set to serve as a juror at the annual event this weekend in Hollywood, organizers announced on Wednesday that he will no longer participate.
On one hand, it’s not surprising the petition received just 159 signatures. Bryant remains highly popular and is beloved by many.
But this also shows the power of a relatively small number of voices speaking up.
Pistons star Blake Griffin learned his lesson after getting his dunk blocked by Nets center Jarrett Allen in the preseason. In the regular-season opener, Griffin went up even harder.
And Allen still stopped him!
Rumors about Kevin Durant leaving the Warriors are intensifying. Even people within the Golden State organization are bracing themselves for him to depart in free agency next summer.
Not even the Warriors collecting their championship rings could stop the momentum.
In fact, last night’s celebration contributed to the noise.
Kevin’s brother, Tony, commented on Kevin’s Instagram post featuring the rings, “Filling the hand up before we get outta here!”
Rob Perez of The Action Network:
My best guess was “here” meant the Warriors’ arena in Oakland. This is their last season there before moving to a new arena in San Francisco Francisco.
Or maybe “here” meant in the NBA. Careers in the NBA are finite.
Another thought that crossed my mind: “Here” could have meant in this world. Lives, too, are finite.
The only clear part: Tony wants Kevin to win a handful of rings. The deadline is nebulous.
Of course, the loudest speculation was “here” meant playing for the Warriors and this being the last run. But Tony sharply denied that.
If you want to be a conspiracy theorist, perhaps Tony meant leaving Golden State after this season but Kevin just instructed him to downplay it to quiet chatter. I suppose that’s possible, though it wouldn’t jibe with Kevin’s tell-the-truth-about-free-agency approach.
Occam’s Razor suggests taking Tony at his word, and that’s what I’ll do.